Tonight, they are rain, quiet and persistent as Ragnarök. No sudden apocalypse, but an urging to yield sweeping across the land. Turn in, turn in. Sleep and fly the coming days. Yet, we wait. We watch the news. We fret to ourselves, our friends, our families.
Lady Macduff after her husband has left his chickens. Urgent business always calling. Support riding over the ridge. Then the bad men come, as if they had been waiting just out of sight. Always waiting. Riding into our dreams to unhallow and disturb our sleep. And sleep becomes the murdered sleep of a disquiet world.
Fallen asleep in front of television once again? The hours creeping up on us and we–it is so much easier than reading to just turn that on and let the stories parade themselves before our eyes. We can rest then. Have a glass of wine. We have worked so hard. We certainly deserve it.
Only those cries. Neither nightingale nor lark, but softly hooting goblins in disguise, spoiling the milk of our dreams in proportion to the ways that we have spoiled our own lives. “O dark, dark, dark. They all go into the dark, /The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant” go our days of light across the fields. Tiny life threads turn to lines of ash in ashtrays while the ghosts of men from long ago boats await us in the silence.
Solemn too, these deep angels of the shadows, standing in the dark with swords, treading bits of starlight into broken glint beneath their feet. We pray for cockcrow although we remain guilty things, seeking great bears and other creatures in the woods. Moss and fungi grow up between our toes and we stand transfixed, consumed with our confusion.
What have we wrought? The cold iron of an age ago. Standing towers grass grown sideways, bending under the weight of all our progress. Bowing down to flaming birds. Universities bowing down to administrative, economic protocol that rusts and rots them from within. Flowers amongst the gravestones.
Here is Ann, and here Bedelia. Sacrificed to work in this industry. In any industry. For what has opened them to cockle hats and staves has left them open, turned to owls in trying to protect themselves, flying out the door and never seen again.
For Ophelia’s world is outside of ours and within it. Worlds rolled in worlds. Fairies in the woods outside of Athens. Kings and Queens and echoes. Lovers and echoes. Romeo and Juliet, their love the negative space (the “Ma”) of feuding. Something into something else. Yin and Yang never static, but constantly becoming each other.
The man who hesitates in his revenge loses himself. Conversely, the man who speeds to vengeance remains too hot–listening hotly, with no cool wit to temper his judgment, no cool mind to tell him that the poison he follows will ultimately poison him. Hamlet and Laertes.
Yet, how do we wait? For four more years? For the next election? For the next political resolution? How do we wait while rage consumes us from within while we smile and go about our days. Go to work. Just get by. Nickel and dime. Dry and dry into the days ahead when fires come behind the rains. Like Ragnarök sweeping across the weeping land.
How do we shield the children? How best to teach them, maybe we should ask. How best to care for our neighbors and ourselves, keeping everyone not just safe, not just barely sustained, but happy and fulfilled? Aye, there’s the rub. No urge to bodkins. No urge to firearms, vehicles, ideologies. Letting quietus come when it will, as it will, while we remain content in here and now.